Recent US labour market indicators have, on the whole, remained strong. Some of the latest survey evidence, in particular the ISM non-manufacturing employment index, the NFIB small business employment index and the Markit manufacturing employment index, suggest that we may see an even bigger gain in payrolls in March. Looking at initial jobless claims, there was a shortlived spike in the second half of February, which coincided with a series of big storms. The good news is that jobless claims have already fallen back below 300,000, suggesting that the March payroll figures will also be largely unaffected. Capital Economics says “Our econometric model suggests that non-farm payrolls increased by 240,000 in March. We anticipate that the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5%.”

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